Building a successful channel program is a lot like building a house. This blog series from Valerie Richards, Account Manager at Zift Solutions, will help you determine the right space and resources for all of the “inhabitants” of your channel program.

Designing a channel marketing program should follow a blueprint that carefully considers the characteristics of the partners that will live and work within it.

In the first installment of this series, we discussed the importance of segmenting partners, most likely into Referral Partners, Resellers and Distributors. Using our home building analogy, we determined Referral Partners would do quite well in a guest room, with basic “set it and forget it” capabilities. This leaves the task of determining the best placement and tools to support Resale Partners and Distributors.

Move Your Resale Partners into the Master Suite

house floor planAs Resellers serve as a direct extension of a vendor’s sales and, in some cases, support organization, they deserve a place of honor in your channel program. You want the Value Added Resellers (VARs), Managed Services Providers (MSPs), Solution Providers and Systems Integrators In this category to stay for the long haul. That means moving them into the Master Suite and providing them with convenient, easy access to an array of tools to make their stay as comfortable and fruitful as possible.

Resellers typically provide pre-sales expertise as well as post-sales deployment services. As they are often interacting directly with prospects, they require all of the same tools that a vendor would offer to their internal sales team. However, as they are often working for multiple vendors as well as supporting their own business, Resellers need a bit of pampering to encourage engagement and capture mindshare. In addition to turnkey programs that drive new leads and move sales swiftly to close, vendors should supply their Resellers with supporting resources, such as training materials, campaign how-to guides, telemarketing scripts, customer-facing collateral, customized PowerPoint Presentations and more.

A Well-Appointed Room to Maximize Reseller Impact

Resellers are the perfect partners to spoil a bit because they often drive the most sales and interact most frequently with prospects and clients. Were they houseguests, you would pamper them with high thread count sheets, fluffy bath towels and fancy soaps in the shower. To maximize the impact of Reseller sales, prospecting activities and customer relationship-building, vendors should consider providing the following tools:

  • Content Syndication: Lift the burden of continual content development from resource-strapped Resellers with content syndication, which makes it easy for them to deliver fresh, relevant product information and brand-consistent messaging to prospects and customers. Dynamic Content Syndication lets vendors easily embed current content, which automatically adjusts to match prospect interests and activities, directly into Resale Partner websites. Consider content syndication like an en suite bath – everything they need is within easy reach.
  • Social Media Syndication: By combining content syndication and social media syndication, Resale Partners can use your content to supplement social media efforts, enhance their presence and position themselves as influential voices in promoting your solutions and services.
  • Website Analytics: Make sure that Resellers have access to deep data on overall traffic, individual views, clicks, on-site time, company and industry affiliations of site visitors and more. Both vendors and Resale Partners should always be able to see what’s happening by monitoring website visits and activity, so they can easily adjust copy, images and assets to improve results.
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Like a simple flower in a bud vase or pitcher of water on the bedside table, PPC provides big impact with little effort or cost. PPC campaigns can generate highly targeted leads for resellers at a very low cost per lead and make it easy for resellers to bring targeted traffic to their websites.
  • Automated Lead Distribution Management: Speed and strengthen lead follow-up by delivering qualified leads to Resale Partners directly into their established Marketing Automation, CRM and SFA Systems. Plus, you will gain visibility into what happens to those leads throughout the lead management and sales process.
  • Through Partner Marketing Automation (TMPA): Use TPMA to create co-branded demand generation and nurturing campaigns that match each stage of the Buyer’s journey, from initial awareness, into consideration and defining preferences, with enticing calls to action for each stage. Campaigns should leverage partner-ready content, that is truly relevant, timely and strategic, which can be served up for and by Resale Partners in targeted emails, newsletters and more to grab and keep the attention of potential buyers across the sales cycle. Vendors must freshen and refine content regularly to get the best results.
  • Shared Analytics: Like an in-home intercom system, shared analytics keep everyone connected. Look for the ability to deliver real-time notifications to alert Resale Partners when prospects visit a vendor site, so they can quickly follow up to close deals.

Making your Resale Partners as comfortable as possible pays off in the end with productive members that think of you first, collaborate openly and become engaged in the overall well-being of your Channel Program.

Up Next

In upcoming installments of this series, we’ll explore the best placement and tools for Distributors and discuss how specialized services can boost success rates.

Please share your thoughts and comments below.